Years ago when I took my counseling internship, I took it in an office in the comfortable ritzy suburbs. The other portion in the homeless shelters with torn apart families, separated couples, displaced veterans, hurting people some traumatized with a multiplicity of issues and with battered and abused women. One of the shelters was in the suburbs right behind both a Mercedes Benz and Cadillac luxury car dealerships located in a vacated armory. One was located way out of the way, down across by and over on the other side of the railroad tracks in the city. One located amidst a commercial business park. What was so interesting only in the case of extreme emergency could the residents stay in the shelters during the day. They had to be out rain or shine first thing in the morning. In the suburbs they could not linger anywhere near or close to the luxury dealerships. They of course did not want their potential customers disturbed in any way by the homeless…
There was such a contrast in the various environments but not really in the overall personality dynamics. Hurting people exist in every walk of life no matter how much one might have or does not have! At the time my counseling supervisor was not too enthused about coming to the shelter at first… To be honest my home church at the time was not very receptive as well. They did not really want a lot of the homeless being brought there for counseling. No concern for worry because I went to them and eventually they set me up with a nice quaint little office… Initially the university wondered if maybe, or perhaps the environment would be a bit too harsh and…
It was here I learned the significant value of healthy boundaries as well as “One Spot” therapy! Which is a onetime counseling session. One spot simply means that when a person knows that they may have perhaps one opportunity to talk to you, and will probably not see you again. Once open they will say to you what has been stored up for years! I have heard the unimaginable… I learned to really trust the Lord during my many volunteer hours. It helped me to appreciate the value of not assuming or if you do to be readily willing to release any stereotypes. I learned here the true meaning of “ministry beyond the walls.” There is much spiritual warfare that takes place when you reach out to help those who are tormented and in much pain. There are times that anger may be projected upon you! Sometimes caring means not reacting but responding patiently… I also accompanied several clients (this is what they called the residents) on occasion along with a guard, who were 5150 sectioned to the hospital to help relieve a client who at times experienced extreme anxiety and sometimes considered volatile. 5150 Meaning they had been put under involuntary mandatory psychiatric confinement for observation for 72 hours to determine their mental state!
It is here I also learned that I naturally empathize. My concern literally drained me. My growing trust in God helped immensely and sharpened my discernment. Healthy boundaries are necessary! I learned that through my trust in God; it was what kept me safe. I was not fearful but cautious. I so had to depend on the Lord for direction in a totally non spiritual environment! Gradually the doors opened more and more… Although I was learning the required psychology and sharpening my skills on the art of counseling, I learned that it took God in my life to really help me help them. There is a huge difference between Christian and secular counseling!
The Lord had blessed us greatly at the time, my husband and I had a successful Professional IT Consulting Corp with many Professional Consultants… We Also had four children in college and one in Middle school at one time… We together have traveled extensively around the world, my husband was also a Minister of Music… we both had also been in Church all of our lives and I had worked in just about every department… We both had been raised in the city and had moved to the suburbs now for quite some time … We still continued to commute back to attend worship services and… This all served to give me a wide range of exposure to numerous varied facets of life! I knew the Lord’s call on my life at an early age and Ministry in Pastoral Counseling was my continued path of discovery…
It is important to KEEP in mind, God really does know what is going on. If you are sincerely interested in the counselee or whoever it is He will and can make a bridge between you and the counselee. Yet, you are only a small part of the healing process. There were a lot of politics that took place in the shelter. Some of the residents became territorial. I settled disputes between the staff and residents. I counseled and prayed with both staff and residents. Together we planned transitional strategies, the staff worked many arduous hours and hard long days. This further helped me with the counselees that lived safely tucked away in their own various homes as well! I learned that nothing anywhere in this world that anyone does, or says gets by the Lord! There is absolutely nothing that happens that He is not aware of! What matters most is our intimate personal relationship with the LORD! GOD KNOWS EXACTLY where each of us are or where we are are lacking…
Ultimately TRUE inner HEALING comes from GOD!
I was required to study many of the psychology theories and its founding fathers. There is much knowledge here. But, there are many concepts and theories in psychology that go against Christian principles. For example at the time I had to study the DSM-IV > Which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders. It is what is known as the “Psychiatric Bible. It serves to broaden one’s knowledge on clinical language and facilitates diagnosis. Which may require psychotropic interventions… One refers here, in order to professionally label or should I say make a clinical diagnosis. This can at times I believe somewhat hinder one seeing the uniqueness of the individual and often rules out the spiritual element of their character… The DSM-IV actually contains a plethora of information on hundreds of possible mental disorders! A Psychiatrist is both a Medical Doctor MD who is a specialist in mental disorders they can prescribe medications that Psychologists cannot.
As a Pastoral Counselor/Minister, I was required to have a relative understanding of the process… We as well in our practicum had lessons on evaluating many of the characters in the Bible as well and seeing how they could have possibly been perceived? KNOW most of the time they would have been unfavorable labeled by this criteria… Most would be thought of as a bit strange and some with mental disabilities or severely depressed…. .I had to know about secular counseling methods to a degree, but my interest was in the spiritual aspect and how it serves to bring about “wholeness!” God can fill the void in one’s life like no other! I saw it time after time in the shelter. I also realized that many do not subscribe, respect, nor care to prescribe to this belief, nor believe in the Bible!
There is a constant change in the world as to what is right? For one, I can remember when homosexuality was considered taboo! Now, it is no longer considered by the American Medical Profession to be abnormal? We are able to see the results of what massive societal pressure can do. Now it has “come out of the closet” Now since it is so prevalent within our society it is now known and supported as “an alternative lifestyle.” This is quite interesting because, if you do not agree you can be considered to be homophobic if you are not somewhat supportive? If that is your choice, it’s your choice. But I believe all the Bible and I do not believe that it should be considered the same as Marriage which was designed by God! God’s view has not changed! Marriage in the eyes of God is HOLY MATRIMONY! Marriage in the eyes of God is sacred! What I find interesting that now many want to have the same rights and privileges as marriage because of their sexual preference! I personally find this disturbing. If this is your choice call it what it is “an alternative relationship” of the same sex. If you are not in agreement you can be considered judgmental and uncaring and…. I am “PRO MARRIAGE” GOD’S WAY! I also believe that this compromises our Christian Values however I realize that we all must answer to the Lord for our choices… We have come a long way… But have we really? Just something to really think about!
It is important to know that a lot of the original research for evaluations in psychology did not include taking into consideration the cultural differences of many People of Color. So where you might be just being polite, patient and considerate it may be perceived as being distant somewhat aloof and unconcerned, or passive… Where you might be disciplined and exercising self control, you may be thought of as mechanical…. If you speak confidently and fearlessly you could be considered delusional or arrogant! If you talk about God too much you may also be a considered a religious fanatic…This is a result of labeling and racial profiling…
On another note; I also find it quite interesting the mass shooting that took place a while back on the military base at Fort Hood in Texas. Where a military trained Psychiatrist Nidal Hasan massacred many of his fellow soldiers! They were in a soldier readiness facility where the troops being deployed to both Iraq & Afghanistan received their last medical checkups? What about the World Trade Center bombings where so many lives were taken? Have you noticed the many senseless shootings and incidents regarding guns in our schools that have since occurred? Need I remind you of the bombings at the Boston marathon where so many were hurt? All this has caused much fear and insecurity to dismantle our normal systems of life. Terrorism comes in many forms. The spiritual warfare has heightened! We must daily seek refuge in the Lord. It is important to spend time daily in His Word. The Lord can and will impart His Peace to you!
The recent acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case has caused many raised eyebrows! How can a grown man who was told not to get out out a vehicle; do so anyway, then shoot and kill an unarmed seventeen year old teenage boy with a gun that he should not have been carrying on neighborhood watch and be found not guilty? He had a choice he could have secured his car by locking the doors and keeping the windows closed until “help” came! Just perhaps Trayvon Martin would still be living?This is sheer madness no wonder so many are outraged! The lines of justice have once again been blurred.
Stress management is important and needed regardless of who you are. No matter what station one reaches in life balance is always key! Extensive training does not mean that you are immune to anxiety, impulsive behavior and pressure! In my counseling practicum I was required to study and know to a degree what others believe that are non Christians. There are many many religions… The beliefs of many differ greatly! This is also why the spiritual side needs to be addressed as to what do you believe about life, living, and how you value life! How you embrace and practice your beliefs are a huge factor in one’s behavior.
Our true security rests within our relationship with the LORD! I personally BELIEVE that GOD is the GIVER and SUSTAINER of life and we do not have a right to take anyone’s life just because…
When a person has an addiction it can be totally devastating. It not only affects the addict but anyone they come in contact with. It causes fear and insecurity to dominate the lives of their family and often friends as well. It often paralyzes them in a cesspool of co-dependency, inhibiting them from taking a lawful stand.
Intervention when properly initiated can be a catalyst for repentance in the addict. You see we don’t really like to confront problems. We tend to take the ostrich approach, burying our heads in the sand. Guess what? The problem won’t just go away. We often think of love as not making someone feel bad. (Except when it comes to punishing children) But we must be careful not to unconsciously support any wrong behavior. An addict is a devotee to whatever substance they are controlled by. They surrender their will and allow themselves to be habitually, obsessively controlled by the proclivity of their desire. Their addictive need is compulsive and they will do whatever is necessary to fulfill that need.
Buried underneath the layers is really a diamond in the rough! How ironic? God can take their faithfulness to what ever their desire is (alcohol, drugs, food, sex, dirt, etc.) and turn it too good. The process is really miraculous to watch. But it will never happen as long as we keep our head in the sand. God will not force His way. Remember their allegiance is just inappropriately designated. Do you know why it’s easy to abet them in there slow but sure death? They can appear so loving and talk about the life of the party! Who needs a party? They are a party all by themselves. They can be so compliant and giving. But right around the corner lives Mr. or Mrs. Tyrant. . They can embrace the reigns of violent and destructive behavior like sugar to an ant. Talk about a roller coaster! Except this ride is not very amusing. Living on the edge is their theme.
The deepest emptiness and a gulf of shame awaits the departure of each subsequent binge. But don’t be in total despair. There is hope. You see God really does make the difference. Just know you can’t change them. But you can and should abandon providing them a security blanket in any form. Begin to shift your focus to God. He’s the ultimate COMFORTER. He will direct your paths as you truly learn to trust HIM. Begin to develop your role as their faithful prayer intercessor. The chronic abuser allows freedom to his love ones. Freedom to know you can’t depend on them. This freedom can cause you to take on their responsibilities. Oftentimes this can cause one to reach for situations and people they can dominate just as the addict controls their life. To the other extreme, it can also cause them to look to someone who will stroke their insecurities. What a cycle! One can become enmeshed in a sea of burdens. But I’m glad there is a burden bearer. The scripture says: “take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my yoke is easy and my burdens are light”. Easier said than done huh! But it is really possible. Begin to transfer this burden to the Lord. Embrace the scriptures daily to spiritually equip you for warfare. Ephesians is a book that let’s the child of God know that you have been sealed and deliverance is at hand. The mighty weapons of God are not carnal.
You cannot change anything that has happened. Don’t overindulge yourself in a guilt trip. But don’t jump in the quicksand of denial. The noose of addiction can be broken. Jesus did not die in vain. He can resurrect any life. He can peel away the layers of sin by the cleansing power of His BLOOD. It takes only a little light to dispel the darkness. We all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. That’s’ why we need a SAVIOR. TO SAVE US FROM THE POWER OF SIN. Reach out to the Lord. He can and will be there for you TWENTY/ FOUR / SEVEN.
Marriage is the first institution that God designed! Making a sincere commitment to your marriage is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. When God made Adam He made him both male and female. He took Eve out of Adam to be by his side. God is so wonderfully awesome! It was His intention to provide Adam with a compatible helpmeet to satisfy together their desires for companionship. Marriage is the ultimate partnership where two together can spiritually, physically and emotionally have there needs mutually met.
Marriage is a unique covenant agreement. Marriage is ordained by God. God intends for your marriage to last for a lifetime.
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God can direct you in your marital relationship. The adversity He allows is to help us build integrity. From this day forward make a sincere attempt to improve your relationship with your spouse. Take a moment and see where you are. Is your relationship headed in the right direction? Ask your self do you really want your relationship to improve?
God really intended for marriage to last for a lifetime. The scriptures clearly tells us “what God has joined together let not man put asunder”! Asunder; means to not let anything pull you apart or separate you. Why do we so very often fail to seek God’s advice when seeking a mate? We instead allow our feelings and emotions to often guide us in a direction that leads to a futile destiny. In our haste for companionship we can often make commitments that really should not be. Many often marry on the rebound. Loneliness and/or rejection can compel one to enter into a relationship too soon! Hurt and pain can hurl you into a relationship to escape rejection and loneliness. Swept away and blinded by an over whelming sometimes even sensual infatuation we fall heart first into marriage. Many will fall prey to what I choose to call temporary or “intoxicating affections”. Its symptoms merely mimic true love! All too often once the blinders come off you find yourself saying “what have I done?”
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Intimacy is an important ingredient in a strong fulfilling marriage. Intimacy involves transparency. There is no true intimacy without being truthful with one another. It involves growing to the point you can allow your intimate personal defenses to rest. You are able to allow your spouse to inhabit the depth of your being. Together you intimately caress the intangible you. You together grow to the point you are freely able to become vulnerable. The walls come down. A pathway to the heart is established.
Marriage should consist of an ever increasing, warm endearing closeness. After all your spouse should be closer to you than anyone else. Remember the two shall be one flesh.
Don’t confuse intimacy with sex. Many people have sexual relationships and never experience intimacy. Life’s lessons can be…..
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NEXT: Chapter 6 – When You Have Been Married Before
Marriage is a partnership. It is meant to be a relationship where two imperfect individuals come together that share a common bond of love. This bond is ideally meant to last “to death us do part”, for a lifetime. Many people never anticipate what it’s really like to live with someone.
Marriage is more than spending a few days together or a week or two. It should last a lifetime. Often initially the infatuation is so strong the two of you almost feel invincible. Often the couple is oblivious to the reality of it all. Thinking that their feelings will make up for their differences. Yes, differences you will have, but that’s normal. It is how you decide to resolve those differences that are important. When reality sets in they realize “I didn’t think about this or that”. Who does what? When and how often?
You wake up one morning and wonder……..
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NEXT: Chapter 5 – What About Sex And Intimacy
Did you know listening is an art? We must learn to value what each other has to say. When your partner is talking don’t mentally construct your response or rebuttal. Consciously attempt to clear your mind. Sincerely, actively and tentatively listen to what your partner is saying. Let it be your goal to attentively comprehend what they are trying to relate to you. Make it a goal to be intimately interested in what your spouse says to you.
Few people really listen to one another. Why? Because we are often so busy trying to relay our own inner self. Instead of actually listening we are often mentally constructing what we want to relay. Learn to really value what the other is trying to transmit. Even when we think we know what they are going to say. Even if it seems trivially unimportant. Allow them the freedom to express themselves. Think of it as a time to exercise patience. To love means to hear. When we attentively listen we’re saying you matter. I value what you are saying. You are important to me!
The next time you engage in a conversation with your spouse…
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NEXT:Chapter 4 – That’s Your Responsibility
When we submit we yield to the power or will of another. Submission is a humble compliant act. It is not an inferior position. It is a position in which we can learn integrity. What is integrity? Webster defines integrity as; an unimpaired condition; soundness. Adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. Completeness.
It is only with God can one ultimately find completeness. The marital relationship is when two become one. When they leave and cleave spiritually the two should become one flesh. Notice that our physical body has two arms, two hands, two eyes, two ears, two legs and two feet. These body parts are designed to work as a team.
For example; to advance forward one foot has to step out first (unless you want to hop). Does this mean one is more important than the other? No! A symphonic cadence develops when two walk together in love.
The Bible tells us that the wife should submit to the husband in all things. This establishes our walking order. But don’t just stop there. It also tells the husband to love the wife as Christ loved the church.
< NEXT:Chapter 3 – Why Don’t You Listen ?
Marriage is for two mature responsible adults. One male and one female. Or one man and one woman created by God. It was God’s idea from the beginning of time that man and woman co-habit in a loving monogamous relationship. God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He placed man in the Garden of Eden to work and care for it. He even gave man instructions. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”. Genesis 1: 16-17 NIV
It was God who decided that the man He created should not be alone. “The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2: 18 NIV. God decided that Adam needed a companion. He caused Adam to sleep deeply and extracted one of his rib bones. From this he made woman. She became bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Woman came out of man. She came from his side. Someone for him to love and cherish to be close to his side.
Why all the historical religious stuff? Remember anything can be religious. This is a profound spiritual truth! God is the exclusive Creator of mankind. Man and Woman came from God. Not apes. No big bang! Not evolution! Who made the first car? Who made the first stoplight? Who made the first TV? Who invented computers? Give credit where it is due! GOD made man and woman.
God’s design for marriage has not changed! The Supreme Court of the United States has voted against the WORD of GOD and has sanctioned same-sex unions. It is so very important to know that MARRIAGE GOD’S WAY WORKS!
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